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Fireplace and slippers

Your fireplace is a source of comfort in winter. Help it help you! Here are some pointers on how to make your fireplace more efficient.

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During the cold winter months, fireplaces are wonderful heating solutions and create an idyllic home setting. Like any part of your home, however, fireplaces need to be regularly maintained and cared for.

Proper fireplace maintenance is especially essential because a faulty fireplace can cause extreme fire damage to your home. Make sure your knowledge of fireplace maintenance is up to date to keep your family safe and warm in the winter months.

Clean out the ashes

Though a small amount of ash in the bottom of a fireplace can help amplify heat and get a fire going more quickly, regularly cleaning most of the ash from a fireplace is essential to proper maintenance. Ash left for too long may draw moisture from the air.

This moisture is bad for the components of your fireplace. It might rust the metal or damage the stone of your fireplace. However, make sure to adhere to good safety practices while cleaning out the ash. Wait several days to ensure no coals remain. Wear a mask, ventilate your room, and do not use a vacuum.

Get a carbon monoxide detector

Carbon monoxide detectors are essential for homes with fireplaces and stoves, no matter the type of fireplace. Though getting one doesn’t directly relate to the maintenance of your fireplace, it does impact the safety of everyone in the house.

Not all types of fireplaces are strictly wood burning; your home may have a gas or electric option. Any time you use an appliance meant to generate heat, the potential for high levels of carbon monoxide is present, even if it’s unlikely to occur. Protect yourself between fireplace inspections and install a carbon monoxide detector immediately.

Be careful what you burn

A fireplace seems like a great spot to dispose of any paper or wood products instead of throwing them away. However, burning certain things, like green wood or anything damp, causes creosote to build up in the chimney, which can spark chimney fires.

The best way to create a safe fire is to get logs meant for fireplaces or to use dry, untreated wood. Put some newspaper scraps atop two logs to get a good blaze started.

Get an inspection and a cleaning

Every year, before the cozy winter months when a blazing fire is ideal, get your fireplace and chimney inspected and swept. Inspectors check that every component of your fireplace and chimney is in working order and will notify you of any problems you may not have been aware of, like deteriorating brick and mortar or creosote buildup.

While it is possible to look at some of these things yourself, the safest way to ensure your fireplace is in proper working order is to have professionals inspect and clean it.

Safety – your first priority

When it comes to your fireplace, safety should be your first priority. Though keeping your fireplace in good condition takes a little work, putting forth the effort to create a safe environment for a hearty winter blaze is critical. Once you do, you can relax and enjoy the warmth.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.